September is World Alzheimer’s Month, a time to push the global conversation about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias to the forefront.
With an estimated 70,000 British Columbians currently living with some form of dementia, it is likely that most residents of the Cowichan Valley have some connection to the disease: people affected by it are our family members, friends and neighbours.
The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is working towards a vision of a province where people living with dementia are welcomed, supported and included — a truly dementia-friendly B.C. But there is still work to be done.
People in the Cowichan Valley who are affected by dementia are invited to attend a two-part online discussion series called “Demystifying advocacy” on Sept. 28 and 29 from 1 to 2 p.m.
Free of charge and moderated by the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s CEO Maria Howard, the series is an opportunity for residents to hear from dementia advocates as they share their stories and have frank conversations about what it takes to make change happen.
Part one is “Changing your situation,” which will explore advocating for yourself and members of your family, while part two is “Changing the system,” looking at how advocates raise their voices to help change policy and practice.
“Building a dementia-friendly province would be impossible without the tireless efforts of dementia advocates,” says Howard. “We want to celebrate their leadership and give people a chance to learn from them.”
Whether it’s working with advocates to change the system or providing direct support to people affected by dementia, the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s activities rely on the generous support of community fundraisers. Until Sept. 30, people across B.C. can sign up for the Climb for Alzheimer’s hiking challenge and take to their local hiking trails to raise funds.
“By taking part in the Climb for Alzheimer’s, you’ll be supporting thousands of British Columbians on the dementia journey — and helping ensure that no one has to climb that mountain alone,” says Howard.
If you are living with dementia, want to learn more about the disease or how can you get involved with the Alzheimer Society of B.C., you can call the First Link Dementia Helpline at 1-800-936-6033. The Helpline is available Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Information and support is also available in Punjabi (1-833-674-5003) and in Cantonese or Mandarin (1-833-674-5007), available Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can also learn more at alzheimerbc.org.